Weekend brunch for 15 December 2019

News and views from around the web

Image credit: David Ashleydale/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

[WB1] Houston’s municipal elections nearly concluded yesterday (save for poor District B, which may get to elect a member of council one day), with voters choosing to retain incumbents in races with such a choice. And Diane Trautman even managed to compile and share her election results well before sunup the day after, so that’s progress!

[WB2] The mayoral race ended with more of a whimper than a bang as embattled incumbent Sylvester Turner nonetheless throttled challenger Tony Buzbee, whose bumbling campaign consultants apparently thought a last-minute HERO-related mailer and supportive spam-text messages from President Trump would help their cause. It didn’t, but then what could have really? The guy was certainly no Boris Johnson (although the right in America might want to think about cultivating some urban politicians in that mold)!

In the end, Buzbee’s effort was a $13.2 million vanity advertising campaign that, while not as effective as the classic “Tough Smart Lawyer” ads, will surely drive some business to the Buzbee law firm on name recognition alone.

Evan Mintz’s Texas Monthly post on the Buzbee runoff effort proved prescient.

Posts like this one and this one, which I heard echoed from some of my friends on the right, proved not to have any grasp of Houston politics. To elaborate: Bill King lost the previous mayoral runoff by 4,000 votes. The electorate wasn’t there for King this time, unfortunately. But the eccentric Buzbee, who lost to Turner by 27,000 votes and by a spread of 14 percentage points despite outspending him, was certainly – definitively – not “electable” in Houston, Texas. End of chapter. On to 2023! (save for poor District B)

[WB3] Houston’s newly elected pols will inherit a local economy that’s on the verge of contraction. Congrats to the winners, and best of luck.

[WB4] One defeated pol, Dwight Boykins, will be landing in District Attorney Kim Ogg’s office to do “community outreach for a second-chance program,” whatever that means and entails. Houston’s ruling class tends to take care of its own. One can understand, though, why Harris County Commissioners Court continues to deny Ogg’s requests for a larger budget.

[WB5] Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack will not be running for re-election, throwing the race for his seat wide open. Thankfully, he stuck around long enough to thwart this year’s attempted tax increase. Hang on, though, should Republicans lose control of the seat.

[WB6] Chron reporter Zack Despart frames this story on Harris County’s upcoming budget decisions in a highly misleading, even biased fashion. Recall that during the Democratic effort to boost Harris County tax rates earlier this year, the Democratic proponents argued that the county needed the funds for a rainy day fund (since there was no established need for the added funds). Note that Despart’s lede and general framing in this latest story effectively blame the Radack/Cagle tax relief maneuver from earlier this year for starving the county of needed funds and forcing tough decisions (but apparently money can always be found for, say, a Dwight Boykins outreach program).

Bad framing, bad editing from the area newspaper of record.

[WB7] It’s unclear why the Chronicle changed their original headline (still revealed in the web link), but originally the newspaper noted that both HPD officers and Texas Senators had blasted HPD Chief Art Acevedo for his latest crass politicization of a gun death.

[WB8] In Harvey-related news this week:

[WB9] Meanwhile, the federal government is suing Harris County in an effort to obtain documents related to recent chemical fires because Harris County has not been cooperative (which doesn’t seem to square with Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s transparency talk).

[WB10] The great Turkey Leg Hut lawsuit has been dropped – for now.

[WB11] Check out this week’s entry in “Local Twitter examples of superficial elitist snobbery.” Such behavior doesn’t seem very woke or progressive, but sometimes the veil just slips apparently.

[WB12] The Chronicle has found the latest Astrodome boondoggle to publicize: Someone thinks it would be great to transform the derelict stadium into a combo track/public space for a Christmas market/perhaps even a swimming pool. Meanwhile, the Tenant Advisor says to tear it down.

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Kevin Whited
About Kevin Whited 4232 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX